Amanda Gorman's inspired and inspirational poem, stolen from the show when President Biden was inaugurated in January, has shown millions of Americans the emotional and social power of poetry and, hopefully, got them to use it themselves.
Diana Raab, psychologist, poet and author in Santa Barbara, wrote on her blog: “Poetry can make us feel part of a bigger picture and not just live in our isolated little world. Writing and reading poetry can be a stepping stone to growth, healing, and transformation. Poets help us see a piece of the world in a way that we may not have had in the past. "
Dr. Rafael Campo, poet and doctor at Harvard Medical School, believes that poetry can also help doctors become better carers, nurture empathy with their patients, and bear testimony of our shared humanity, which he believes are essential to healing. In a TEDxCambridge lecture in June 2019, he said: "When we hear rhythmic language and recite poetry, our body translates rough sensory data into nuanced knowledge – feeling becomes meaning."
According to Dr. Robert S. Carroll, a psychiatrist from the University of California at Los Angeles, Medical Center, poetry can empower people to talk about taboo subjects like death and dying and enable healing, growth, and transformation.
Regarding the pandemic, Dr. Rosenthal: “This crisis affects more or less everyone, and poetry can help us deal with difficult feelings such as loss, sadness, anger and hopelessness. While not everyone has the gift of writing poetry, we can all benefit from the thoughts that so many poets have expressed beautifully. "
Indeed, the first section of the book contains Elizabeth Bishop's poem "One Art" about losses that can comfort those who suffer. She wrote::
Even to lose you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I won't have lied. It is obvious
The art of losing isn't too difficult to master
though like (write it!) it can look like a disaster.
"When people are devastated by casualties, they should be allowed to feel and express their pain," said Dr. Rosenthal in an interview. “They should be offered support and compassion, and not asked to move on. You cannot force it to close. If people want a closure, they will do it in their own time. "
The closure wasn't a state that Edna St. Vincent Millay, who wrote this, cherished
“Time brings no relief; you all lied
Who told me that time would free me from my pain? "
Dr. However, Rosenthal pointed out that time brings relief to most people, despite what his friend Kay Redfield Jamison wrote in her memoir, An Unquiet Mind. For her, the relief "took up her own and not particularly sweet time".
I now know that thanks to Dr. Rosenthal can be a literary panacea for the pandemic. They let us know that we are not alone, that others have survived devastating loss and desolation before us, and that we can be lifted up by the images and cadence of the written and spoken word.